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ACT remembers Labour's waiting list dead

ACT remembers Labour's waiting list dead

Heather Roy Sunday, 11 September 2005 Press Releases - Health

ACT Health spokesman Heather Roy and ACT leader Rodney Hide today remembered those who have died on Labour's hospital waiting lists at services throughout the country.

1,152 balloons, one for every New Zealander who died while waiting for treatment last year, were released simultaneously at remembrance services in Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington and Christchurch.

In New Plymouth, Margaret Webster, whose 15-year-old daughter Angie was one of Labour's first waiting list victims, released a balloon at her gravesite.

Margaret found Angie dead in her bed on 11 September 2000. An autopsy found she died of a heart drug build-up while waiting for a $5000 operation that would have saved her life.

Mrs Roy and Mr Hide vowed to reduce the number of people dying on the country's hospital waiting lists by properly utilising private hospitals for publicly funded operations.

"ACT will reduce current waiting list numbers by 25,000 a year by using operating theatres and beds at private hospitals, which are currently lying idle because of Labour's ideological opposition to harnessing the private sector to reduce waiting lists," Mr Hide said.

Mrs Roy said 120,000 New Zealanders were currently waiting to see a specialist for the first time and another 60,000 have been told they need surgery and will have to wait months or even years to get it.

"Even worse 1,152 people died on Labour's hospital waiting lists last year.

"Labour has spent an extra $3.5 billion a year on health, but there are no more health services as a result. Labour has spent the money on health bureaucracy, rather than additional treatment.

ACT would:

- ring fence $250 million of health funding and require DHB's to utilise the private health sector to reduce waiting lists from 180,000 to 120,000 in three years.

- introduce tax assistance so people can better afford health insurance or pay to go privately.

"Labour has failed 180,000 patients on waiting lists and the thousands more who have died since they came to office," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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